Face of the Day

At my school there, Pakeha were in the minority. Maori and Italian kids ruled the roost – a lot of Italian families lived in Turangi back then because the men were working on the hydro-electric dam project.

Perhaps hearing my classmates switch effortlessly and fluently between their mother tongues and English was the catalyst for me wanting to be able to do the same.

Whatever. By the time I went to boarding school in Hamilton, I was highly motivated to learn another language. I was put in a class that studied French and Latin and although I enjoyed it very much, and went to Alliance Francaise competitions, once I left school that was it.

And it’s so frustrating now when I travel to France not to be able to speak the language. Words are my thing. I speak on the radio, I write columns, I MC functions to make a living. I love cryptic crosswords and puns and word play and discovering new words.

So to be reduced to being able to say little more than: “Une bouteille de vin rouge, s’il vous plait” is infuriating.

I totally support the Greens’ initiative to make te Reo Maori a core subject, along with English and maths.

Non.

Why?

1) Pandering

2) Opportunity cost

And let’s face it.  The majority of Maori don’t speak it.  If there is no desire within Maoridom, why do the Greens expect the 60% Asian population of Auckland to speak it?   Absurd.


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